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Yancey v. Dietsch

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

September 16, 2014

NATHANIEL LAMICE YANCEY, Plaintiff,
v.
TRACY DIETSCH and RANDY CASPERS, Defendants.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court pursuant to the defendants' motion for summary judgment (docket no. 24). The defendants filed such motion on July 28, 2014. The plaintiff filed a "resistance" (docket no. 25) on August 7, 2014. The defendants did not file a reply.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT UNDER FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "An issue is genuine' if the evidence is sufficienttopersuade a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Schilf v. Eli Lilly & Co., 687 F.3d 947, 948-49 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A fact is material when it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Thus, "the substantive law will identify which facts are material." Schilf, 687 F.3d at 949 (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248) (internal quotation mark omitted). "To establish a genuine issue of material fact, [a party] may not merely point to self-serving allegations, but must substantiate allegations with sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in [his or her] favor.'" Argenyi v. Creighton Univ., 703 F.3d 441, 446 (8th Cir. 2013) (quoting Davidson & Assocs. v. Jung, 422 F.3d 630, 638 (8th Cir. 2005)). Typically, the moving party must support its motion by using "the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials", to show that there is no genuine issue of material fact before the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). Since a "party's own testimony is often self-serving, '" all "particular factual allegations [must be] scrutinized for independent documentary evidence'" to be considered legally competent. Argenyi, 703 F.3d at 446 (citations omitted).

The court must view all "the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and giv[e] the nonmoving party the benefit of all reasonable inferences." Crawford v. Van Buren Cnty., Ark., 678 F.3d 666, 669 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing Lewis v. Heartland Inns of Am., L.L.C., 591 F.3d 1033, 1035 (8th Cir. 2010)). However, "[w]hen opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). In order to deny a motion for summary judgment, "the evidence must be such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Reed v. City of St. Charles, Mo., 561 F.3d 788, 791 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

Procedurally, "[a] movant for summary judgment... must identify those portions of the record which... demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Gannon Int'l, Ltd. v. Blocker, 684 F.3d 785, 792 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc)). If the moving party has done so, then the nonmoving party "must respond by submitting evidentiary materials that set out specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. (citing Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042). "Speculation and conjecture are insufficient...." Id. at 794 (citing Bloom v. Metro Heart Grp. of St. Louis, Inc., 440 F.3d 1025, 1028 (8th Cir. 2006)). If the record, viewed as a whole, "could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Id. at 792. (citing Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042). Throughout the summary judgment stage, "the court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter itself, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Schilf, 687 F.3d at 949 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Overview of Civil Rights Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides, in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress....

42 U.S.C. § 1983 was designed to provide a "broad remedy for violations of federally protected civil rights." Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 685 (1978). However, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides no substantive rights. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994); Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989); Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 617 (1979). "[O]ne cannot go into court and claim a violation of [42 U.S.C.] § 1983' - for [42 U.S.C.] § 1983 by itself does not protect anyone against anything." Chapman, 441 U.S. at 617. Rather, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides a remedy for violations of all "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws [of the United States]." 42 U.S.C. § 1983; see also Albright, 510 U.S. at 271 (42 U.S.C. § 1983 "merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'"); Graham, 490 U.S. at 393-94 (same); Maine v. Thiboutot, 448 U.S. 1, 4 (1980) ("Constitution and laws" means 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides remedies for violations of rights created by federal statute, as well as those created by the Constitution.). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish: (1) the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) the alleged deprivation of that right was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

B. The Plaintiff's Failure to Respond

A proper resistance and supporting documents were due on August 21, 2014. See LR 56.b. To date, the plaintiff has not properly resisted the defendants' motion for summary judgment by furnishing evidence, citations or other reasons for denying it. Id. ; see also Settlemire v. Watson, 877 F.2d 13, 14 (8th Cir. 1989) (per curiam) (any party proceeding pro se is expected to be familiar with and follow procedural rules). Although he could have requested an extension of the filing deadline, the plaintiff did not do so, and, consequently, it is appropriate to consider the merits of the defendants' motion for summary judgment. LR 56.c ("If no timely resistance to a motion for summary judgment is filed, the motion may be granted without prior notice from the court...."). Because he never submitted a proper resistance, the plaintiff did not expressly admit, deny or qualify each of the facts set forth in the statement of undisputed material facts that the defendants submitted in support of their motion for summary judgment. See LR 56.b.2. The plaintiff's failure to file any response to the defendants' statement of undisputed material facts constitutes an admission of each of these facts. See LR 56.b.; accord Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). ...


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